My Dining Room Update

Have you ever had one of those moments where you look back, and it’s like your whole world has just zoomed in or zoomed out a little? My last few weeks have flown by, taking it with me without any control or any sense of reason – but in a good way, I promise. In these last few weeks, I have turned 23, started a time-consuming new job, and planned out several vacations for these next few weeks. It already has been a wild first week of May!

I have always been someone to jump head first into everything I do, but I am hoping this internet space for me writing about my passions and discoveries will not be one of those all-or-nothing things in my life. It is hard for me to really discover how to write consistently and regularly while being all-in in another place in my life. But I will strive! I have a plan, and I promise to do my best to stick with it and make my mark regular. Even while on vacation.

Another thing that has been happening around my household is planning out how to fill our little apartment with furniture. As an interior designer, I am obviously passionate about the home and surrounding yourself with pieces you love, but am very lazy about that in my own little apartment. Recently, though, I have seen potential as I look around, and am starting to get excited about a future where each room has our personal touch on it.

I am starting with our dining room. Now, it will definitely be a while as we save money for these changes, and slowly implement them over time, but possibility always has its spark in creativity, and that makes my brain run away with itself.

There will be no dining table, no dining chairs, no sideboard or credenza in our dining room. We would be able to use it as a place for study groups, for casual meals, to study or work on laptops, maybe for a game night, but all with a more laid back feel. Since we weren’t interested in hosting dinner parties, and we never eat at a dining table, we thought using more casual chairs would fit all of those parameters. A coffee table in the center can still act as a central location to set things on and gather around, and this setup is just a little more formal than our loungey living room.

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I started with an indoor-outdoor area rug, which will help hide crumbs and other mess which I am too lazy to clean up right away, and will look good no matter how many feet walk across it. Personally, I love the fringe too – it adds just a little fun. These swivel chairs are comfortable to sit all the way back in, but easy to slide to the front of when grabbing something from the coffee table. And since they are swivel chairs, it’s easy to direct your direction without too much effort. A marble coffee table is the easiest to clean, and the open bottom means I can slide a pouf or organization basket underneath when I want to, but keep the whole spacce feeling open the rest of the time.

I am a big fan of layering coffee tables these days too. For flexibility, a side table that is taller than a coffee table can give you that much more practical space to work with, but it’s just as easy to slide into a corner and out of the way. If you love this as much as I do, a creative live edge side table, a tiled side table, or something a little more glam can help add a little style to a living space without overshadowing a larger, more practical coffee table that you love.

Continue reading “My Dining Room Update”

My Clients Love: Task Lamps as Table Lamps

Lately, I have been including the trend of task lighting in place of the traditionally shaped floor or table lamp, and my clients are loving it! Though I recommend them for the practicality of having lighting exactly where you want, my clients love how they look and feel in their space.

You may know the other name of a task lamp – desk lamp. These lamps provide directed light to a specific place on your desk, but can also be the perfect source of light for a favorite reading spot or bedside table. “Task lighting” is the interior designer’s way of explaining how to get enough light for the activities you plan on doing in each room. If you plan on reading or working, you will want different light than if you are just sitting and watching TV or in the kitchen making food. Thinking about what you want your lighting to help you do, will help you create a better environment for whatever you are doing.

It is super easy to fill your living room with soft, romantic light, while still giving enough light to read or work by without straining your eyes. And the best part is you don’t even need to turn your overhead lights on.

My clients not only love this lighting setup but love the trendy way task lamps look in their spaces. There are so many different styles, so it is easy to find one to fit into the feel of your home, and they all look modern and on trend, no matter which style you choose. They come in any finish and color you can imagine, and every style and shape.

Source: My Domaine – Inside the Living Room Makeover of Emily Henderson’s Editorial Director

Why it’s a great choice for any of your rooms ↓

Continue reading “My Clients Love: Task Lamps as Table Lamps”

Dark Masculine, Deep Spaces

Heavy in black, with warm wood tones, rustic leather, and hefty furniture, masculine rooms with dark colors carry a luxe, seductive quality that cannot be beat. My husband loves these deep, dark spaces, and although my aesthetic runs a bit more airy and feminine, I have come to appreciate the amazing aura that they carry.

A dark color carries a heavy weight to it, and since black is the darkest of colors, it weighs the most. In a room, it feels overwhelming without the right balance of warm woods, finishes, and architectural detail.

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Source: Kathy Kuo Blog – How to Create the True Gentleman’s Bachelor Pad
More deep, dark masculine spaces! ⬇️
Continue reading “Dark Masculine, Deep Spaces”

Pillows of the Week #4

Neutrals definitely don’t have to be boring – especially bringing texture and interesting materials into your room. One of the brightest neutral elements you can add is leather. Now in most situations, a giant-leather-couch-feel in a room just adds a huge sense of weight, and it becomes a little overwhelming. But in little details, like pillows or a single chair,

Many people have strong opinions on leather, and sometimes it’s just a hate-it-or-love-it situation, but bringing a little leather into your house can add a sense of life and earthy warmth. Real leather ages so beautifully, and hide brings a beautiful texture and mix of natural colors. Leather doesn’t have to look “Southern ranch” either, but can be mixed with other pieces and details to feel completely modern, and can adapt to look bohemian, urban, masculine, or chic.

Incorporating Leather

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I did add a cheeky fringe pillow to pay homage to the leather heavy ranch style, but definitely wanted to keep the overall feel relatable and layered, so kept it black instead of the standard camel coloring. A white sheepskin in the back brings the most texture, and that amazing hide in the front adds that incredible color variety, bringing the browns and blacks all together.

  1. CB2 / 18 x 12″ / Leather Fringe Pillow / Black
  2. Pottery Barn / 20 x 20″ / Pieced Leather Pillow Cover / Whiskey
  3. Loloi / 13 x 21″ / P0383 / Grey
  4. Loloi / 13 x 21″ / P1031 / Black
  5. Pottery Barn / 26 x 26″ / Faux Sheepskin Pillow Cover / Ivory

Bringing your fabric couch or chair to life, no matter what color it is, is as easy as throwing a leather pillow you love in the corner! And leather pillows have the same benefits as a leather couch – they’re easy to clean, hold up to dog claws, and look better after they’ve been around for a few years.

If you love leather, check out my solution to add a little camel into your gray room in my last post!

April Week 1 – Camel & Gray

Here is the Color of the Week for the first week of April! It was definitely a selfish choice for me to choose neutrals as the theme for April. I just love the calm and relaxing effect that an all neutral palette brings to a room, and that focus it brings to textures and layering.

Gray has been a pretty steady fixture of the interior design world now for a while, so you may have a few gray rooms in your own house. Though the trends are turning to warmer grays and taupes, one of the classiest color combinations out there is gray and camel. Fortunately, bringing camel into your gray room not only is an easy addition, but pushes your “chic” factor to a whole other level.

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Source: Simo Design

Contrast is really the most striking element in interior design. Though most people think about black and white in this situation, my favorite contrast is between other neutrals – specifically, cool and warm. The warm tones of camel, and the cool grays offer a perfect contrast to make a space feel slick and put together.

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More Camel & Gray below! ⬇️

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On Trend: Moroccan

Somewhere between pouring over Tintin comics and that one episode of Trading Spaces where Genevieve Gorder hung a bed from the ceiling, my childhood was filled with books of Morocco and Moroccan architecture (that tile! Those arches!). I still absolutely love the detail, the calming white walls, and how everything goes just so perfectly together.

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When I was younger, I was so certain that when I grew up, I would not only spend a lot of my time in the amazing vacation homes there, but my home would reflect my love for Morocco – in its full glory. Though the full on color and glitter I was imagining in my childhood mind is certainly not how I picture my home these days, as I dream about my future home, I would love to bring some large scale Moroccan tile, airy drapery fabrics, and an incredible rug, along with some other accents, into my home.

These days, Moroccan details are found just about everywhere in interior design. Vintage Moroccan rugs, leatherworking, and wedding blankets can be seen on just about every trendy blog and instagram – and I am loving it! No matter what Moroccan details you choose to include in your home, it definitely brings a breath of fresh air, and a new global perspective.

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Source: Lonny Riad El Fenn

There are definitely some simple things that you can do to add the casual ease of the trendy Moroccan interior design style.

First, throw a moroccan pouf in a corner, in front of a sofa, or slide two under a console table on your wall. Grab this one from Bohemia to bring genuine moroccan feel to your home.

Replace your coffee table with a classy moroccan tray one. This one from Pier 1 jump starts your moroccan decor, and brings amazing detail and wood tone to your space.

Finally, an easy thing to do is use a moroccan wedding blanket – or Handira – as a heavy blanket across your couch or bringing amazing texture to your bed. World Market has this one which you can use as a rug, or a heavy throw.

On-Trend---Moroccan

Next: There are two companies you should go to first for other Moroccan decor – pillows, bedding, and other housewares – to fill in the spaces in your home.

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First: Bohemia Design has an amazing collection of blankets and Handira’s, and also, the softest Moroccan slippers you will ever slip on your feet. I go here first if I am looking for a Hammam towel (Turkish bath towel), and their pompom baskets are also adorable.

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Second: Tigmi Trading is the place you go for amazing Moroccan rugs and floor pillows. Their rugs, both in neutrals and bright colors, have amazing, heavy texture, and become a perfect feature in your room.

It doesn’t take much to include the light, airy, and romantic atmosphere of Morocco in your home! A few details can go a long way to add the emotion of the cool breeze, raw woods, and amazing shapes in Moroccan architecture and design.

Maybe one day I will get to Morocco – be able to walk the city streets, see the markets, and feel the ocean breeze – but for now, I love to see it trending, and include a little of it in my own home.

Continue reading “On Trend: Moroccan”

Colors of the Month – March

Every week, on Monday, I sit down at my desk, in front of my computer, and spend an hour (or more) getting inspired by interior design blogs, recent trends, cool architecture projects, and other pieces of the industry that draw my attention. By starting my week out this way, I end up feeling more motivated in my work and more inspired even by the work that I, myself, am doing. Since sometimes working with clients can take most of the inspiration I have on a long vacation, staying motivated by what I love is definitely an important part of my job. It’s good for me, and it’s good for my clients!

Each month, I choose a color theme, and in my bullet journal, put together a collage each week of that specific week’s inspiration. By choosing things I love, to keep me inspired all week, my work becomes more passionate and focused.

Source: Domino 35 Ways to Use Sage Green

This month, my color theme was green! I loved the trendy photos of green interiors in deep, romantic shades, and bright plants everywhere I turned. I also thought it was hilariously ironic that March’s color is green – for St. Patrick’s Day – anyway!

Let me walk you through the four weeks of inspiration that I found motivating me in my work all month. Photo sources are at the very bottom!

Week 1: Deep Green – Teal

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Way more green to go! ⤵️

Continue reading “Colors of the Month – March”

Pillows of the Week #3

In honor of my post where I practically obsess over the new spring outdoor furniture collections (read that here!), this weeks theme is bringing together some of the outdoor pillows I found on my online shopping spree. I love that being outdoors in the morning is such a peaceful and fresh experience, so I wanted to capture that in the colors and soft patterns.

Outdoor Pillows – Serenity

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I love the cool blues and how so much white makes this set feel like a breath of fresh air. I included a little bit of texture, but mostly kept to prints, so overall the set feels smooth and complete. A little bit of text captures the feeling of serenity, with just the right size and font to keep it aligned with the other pillows, and since it is embroidered, it adds just a little bit of shine.

  1. Serena & Lily / Montecito Outdoor Pillow Cover / Ivory / 24″ Sq.
  2. World Market / Green Fern Outdoor Throw Pillow
  3. Serena & Lily / Montecito Outdoor Pillow Cover / Ivory / 12″ x 21″
  4. Pottery Barn / Sunbrella Awning Stripe Indoor/Outdoor Pillow / Spa Blue
  5. Ballard Design / Vacay Embroidered Indoor/Outdoor Pillow
  6. ATG Stores / Pillow Perfect / Outdoor Seeing Spots Corded Square Throw Pillow / Set of 2 / Sterling

It is so amazing to spend time outside – and making it a little more comfortable and fabulous is definitely worth the effort! Whether it is as simple as rolling up a rug or bringing a throw to lay on the grass (or cement, depending on where you live), to cuddling up on an outdoor sectional with an incredible view, spending time in the fresh air as soon as you wake up starts your day off right, and jump starts your day with a perfect sense of serenity!

Living Al Fresco Loco

Here is my guide to the new Spring 2017 outdoor furniture lineup!

My absolute favorite part of getting into the new interior design spring season is when the outdoor furniture lines come out. Really – I get super excited. The new dining setups, lounge seating, and beautiful photos remind me that perfect weather is right around the corner! Since most of my life I lived in Seattle, the 3 months of sun that we got for pretty much the entire year invited me to spend all of that time out in the fresh air. I really felt the benefits of soaking up the sun and enjoying the rare Seattle blue skies. I would always keep my window open, crawl out on the roof to read, and spread out my summer homework on the patio table. Now that I live in Colorado, the weather is sunny and beautiful a lot of the time! I love taking advantage of spending as much time as I can outside. And one day, when we have bought our own house, making a comfortable and inviting place to spend time outside is one of my number one goals.

Transforming your outdoor space into something special invites everyone to spend more time out in the open air, and in good weather, being outside is still one of my favorite places to be. Though outdoor furniture is definitely considered a luxury, and usually has a higher price point to prove it, it can definitely transform your space through the mere invitation of sitting by the fire pit, or having dinner at your patio table. It is a constant reminder of the potential of spending time outside: the more you love it, the more likely you are to use it.

Another bonus: since it is so early in the season – everything is on sale right now!

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Source: Refreshed Take on the Gable Shines in Austin’s Building Boom

Al Fresco” is an amazing Italian phrase which means “in the open air.” You may have heard this phrase in relation to dining outside specifically – maybe back in 2007 when “Al Fresco dining” was becoming a huge trend – but I love thinking about this idea of turning your lifestyle to the outdoors when the weather turns brighter. Many modern houses have a covered outdoor patio, or place specifically designed for spending time outside. Making this a special place to gather your family, spend time in community, or just enjoy the nice weather will invite you to join that “Al Fresco” lifestyle. Besides, sun is really good for you.

Here are some of my favorite companies, whose new spring lines have unfolded recently. I’ve put some seating areas together, to capture the feel (and show off my favorite pieces) of each of them. I decided to stick with a mint/aqua color scheme throughout all of these, so you could really see the differences between each company, and their amazing furniture pieces.

First off: Article.

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Article is a great modern furniture company that specializes in cutting out the middle man to save you money. They also have a flat shipping cost for your whole order no matter where you live in the US and Canada. Their new summer line is definitely focused on materials, bringing you amazing looking washed wood, solid teak, casual steel, and heavy iron. I like how they really focus on making their pieces look like they truly belong outdoors, and they choose to focus on dining furniture, rather than split their efforts between a bunch of different collections and styles.

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The brightness of the chairs, and the driftwood look of the main table and work table definitely feel like summer is coming. I also always love to have a little table by my patio table to hold condiments, or just put things on that you don’t want on your main table, but still need to access. An outdoor work table can act as a console table to help serve food buffet style, or keep drinks on, and a knitted pouf brings texture and a laid back feel to the space.

Continue reading “Living Al Fresco Loco”

My Clients Love: Cocktail Ottomans

Sometimes, one common thread keeps popping up again and again as I work for clients. Recently, many of them have requested a cocktail ottoman instead of a coffee table. Though I haven’t usually recommended a cocktail ottoman in the past, I have found myself drawn more and more to the idea, and started recommending them myself.

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Source: Brittany Siles, Portola Springs
A cocktail ottoman can have the same functionality of a coffee table, but provide a more comfortable place for casual extra seating, or a more natural place to put your feet up on. Some cocktail ottomans come with a large shelf underneath, which can even provide the same storage capacity of a coffee table, and some pull out into smaller pieces for flexibility. Using a tray that you love on the fabric top will further utilize the surface area, and using that as a place to keep your remotes and coasters can even make a cocktail ottoman look more organized than your coffee table would have been.

Sometimes it is hard to find what you are looking for by searching just for “cocktail ottoman.” I have definitely spent hours scouring companies website, thinking: they must have one here. Searching for “large ottoman” or “grand ottoman” can bring up more options. Finding something in the 36″ – 48″ size range will be comparable to a coffee table or cocktail ottoman. Make sure you find one that fits perfectly in your space though – ottomans come in many shapes and sizes! Above all, finding one you love, in a material you love, is what will bring your room all together.

Traditional Cocktail Ottomans are definitely easier to find. They come tufted, with skirting, colorful, with patterns, and in many shapes and sizes. Since the idea of a cocktail ottoman is more traditional in and of itself, this is no surprise.

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Source: Architectural Digest, Ali Wentworth and George Stephanopoulos’s New York Apartment
These more traditional cocktail ottomans can be found in a formal living room, or library. They are a place to relax and lay back a little, but to keep up appearances. They come in beautiful fabrics, woods, and metals, and spruce up a room by being the final formal touch.

Here are just a few of my favorites:

Traditional-Cocktail-Ottomans

  1. Wayfair / Connely Upholstered Ottoman / Ivory – Since this is a smaller ottoman, using 2 together in front of a large couch would really make a statement. I love the velvet – the color and softness of it add lightness, making it not too heavy for a space.
  2. Layla Grace / Brownstone Lorraine Brown Cocktail Ottoman – The linen and wood of this ottoman just add a beautiful warmth to a room, and the amazing turned leg details are beautiful final touches.
  3. Crate & Barrel / Dolce Black Walnut Cocktail Ottoman / Belem Pebble – These cabriole legs are perfectly complimented with warm grays and tufting. The feminine curves and lightness of this cocktail ottoman brings detail to any space.
  4. One Kings Lane / Dandee Skirted Cocktail Ottoman / Ivory – One Kings Lane has amazing cocktail ottomans. If you want a fun pattern or bright color, you can certainly find one here, but this understated cocktail ottoman definitely has an amazing airy lightness.

More modern cocktail ottomans can be harder to find. Since the coffee table has become a prevalent staple in modern and contemporary living rooms, cocktail ottomans have slowly been forgotten about. But some modern ottomans have become a definite part of trendy, and more casual living rooms. By adding fabric to the center of a space, instead of wood, metal, or glass, your room is transformed into more a relaxing and personable room.

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Source: Architectural Digest, Jewelry Designer Ippolita Rostagno’s 19th-Century Brooklyn Townhouse
These modern cocktail ottomans can add interest to your main living room or bring casual comfort to a seating area in your office. They are an inviting place to sit, and guests can feel comfortable throwing their feet up even without your permission. With side tables to aid in holding drinks and mugs, having a cocktail ottoman will definitely help the whole space feel more casual, even with more formal furniture.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Modern-Cocktail-Ottomans

  1. Article / Ceni / Ottoman / Volcanic Gray – The mid-century modern shape and wood with amazing grain to it adds warmth and texture. Though casual, this is a put together look, which goes perfectly with Article’s other mid-century sofas, bringing the whole room together.
  2. Ethan Allen / Miles Leather Cocktail Ottoman – Whether your adding a little lodge to your living room, or bringing a masculine loft feel, this warm leather ottoman’s simple shape and beautiful top stitching can settle into any room.
  3. Jonathan Adler / Giant Leather Moroccan Pouf / White – Just like it’s smaller counterparts, this moroccan pouf can add a little California cool, or Moroccan casual feel, but is large enough to act as a cocktail ottoman.
  4. Bo Concept / Hampton / Salto Leather, Snow White – Customizable in a ton of different fabrics and leathers, this urban cocktail ottoman has bookcase style storage on the side. The wheels on the bottom add to its casualness and flexiblity, and whatever upholstery you choose, the rounded sides will bring contemporary softness to any space.

I hope your appreciation for cocktail ottomans has grown like mine did! The possibilities are endless for a large ottoman in your space. Since interior design is such a tactile art, adding more texture to a room also adds to the layers of comfort and warmth. Fabric, being a primary texture bringer, is always welcome.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Anthropologie / Velvet Edlyn Grand Ottoman – Of course, so much velvet in a space might seem indulgent, especially in a forest green, or eggplant purple, but in the right space, this piece will be the statement of the year. This cocktail ottoman comes in so many colors, one is probably the right one for your space, and the perfectly detailed gold legs add just a little glam to a space.
  • The Khazana Home Furnishings / Ashford Isle Ottoman – Perfectly angled corners, an open iron base, and a cream tufted top puts this cocktail ottoman right between modern and traditional. It could work in a ton of different spaces, and though it is on a rather large scale, the openness and lightness of the fabric keeps it from dominating and overwhelming a space.
  • CB2 / Kilim Pouf – for an ultra casual look
  • ABC Carpet & Home / Charpoy Coffee Table/Bench – This Indian coffee table equivalent brings airy texture to a room through the amazing weaving technique and light wood legs. Also can be used as a daybed!

Other ideas:
For those who want a cocktail ottoman but don’t have the space, think of using a bench instead, they come in many sizes, and materials. They can also be tufted or smooth, and some benches come with storage or a shelf, to act just like a smaller version of a cocktail ottoman.

For a more flexible set-up, try using multiple smaller ottomans. Square storage ottomans nest nicely together, or 2 round ottomans next to each other add interest – and extra seating.